Lake Arapuni Trout Fishing
Lake Arapuni is a deservedly popular fishery,
especially for those wishing to fish from a boat for a good population
of above-average sized rainbow and brown trout.
rainbow and brown trout are present and, as there are limited
spawning opportunities, each year around 2000 rainbow trout
and 500 brown trout are released into Lake Arapuni by Fish
and Game. Consequently, fish numbers are good with an average
around 2.5 kg, with many going much larger. The average length
of rainbow trout is around 50cm.
In June 2008 Ben Wilson of Fish &
Game reported a large school of big rainbows (at least 60)
congregating below the Waipapa Dam. These fish looked to be
at least 3kg, and were presumably fish from the 2006 hatchery
liberations that had moved upstream trying to find somewhere
||Lake Arapuni is one of the Waikato
River hydro lakes and lies west of Putaruru.
map with topography
topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260
||View the MetService
weather forecast for Tokoroa.
Lakes Trout Fishing
is a long narrow lake and like others in the Waikato hydro
system has a problem with weed infestation during the warm
summer months, especially around the shoreline. There is very
limited shoreline access for the angler and so most fishing
is done using a boat. Consequently, trolling and harling are
the most preferred methods but those who are willing to either
drift or moor a boat and cast a fly spinner around the weed
beds can do very well.
Over the past years, as the quality of
the stocked fish has increased, Lake Arapuni has become one
of the better waters within the Waikato district consistently
producing trophy fish. It is well served by boat ramps. The
most consistent fishing is to be found at the head of the
Lake where the water flows from the Waipapa dam. The water
here can fluctuate as the water is released for electric power
production and so it is very important to stay within the
clearly marked channels when fishing.
||Every year Fish and Game releases
several thousand small fish (fingerlings) of around 14cm into
the lake as there is little on the way of spawning streams entering
the lake to maintain the stock levels. The number of fish released
has been experimented with over the years with between 2,000
to 4,000 fish released annually.
the farm land bordering the Arapuni power station is owned
by Mighty River Power (MRP) and leased to farmers. In 2008
MRP agreed that anglers could have access to the land downstream
of the Arapuni Bridge on the true left bank without requiring
prior permission. Access to the headrace, spillway and tailrace
can be gained by a walking track that starts from Arapuni
Village. Walk across the swing bridge to the road on the other
side of the river, across the road is a stairway that leads
to the track that provides access to lots of good fishing
water with the prime spot being the junction of the spillway
and tailrace. The spillway flows through the lower reaches
of the Waitete Stream, and is open to fishing all year as
it is considered to be part of the Waikato River.
There are a number of boat ramps on both
sides of the lake. See the Lake Arapuni access
Trolling and harling are
the preferred methods to fish this lake although in the summer
when the fish are deeper it is necessary to use some weight,
either through lead core line or adding weight just above
the lures to ensure you get down to the fish. Casting a fly
spinner from the drifting or stationary boat is also very
effective when conditions permit.
Fishing below the Waipapa Dam
The traditional technique to fish for trout
below the Waipapa Dam is to use a spinning rod and small ball
sinker above a swivel with a short leader and either a worm
or a wet fly (silver rabbit
or something similar). Cast the worm / wet fly upstream and
then allow it to bounce back along the bottom. As there are
a lot of snags on the bottom, some anglers try and fish mid-water
to try and avoid loosing too much gear.
Usually only a couple of turbines are working,
so one side of the river will have some comparatively still
water and that is often where the fish are to be found. When
all the turbines are working at full capacity it becomes unfishable.
However occasionally the turbines are turned off late at night
and then the fishing can be superb.
Fly fishing with a large wet fly along
the margins can also be productive, especially in the evening
or early morning.
||When trolling especially during
the warmer months when the trout tend to be deeper, use a lead
core line with between three to five colours out depending on
the conditions. Alternatively, use a downrigger. If that is
not possible secure a small 3 to 4 ounce ball sinker above a
swivel about a metre above the lures.
Nymphs which imitate caddis
caddis can be very effective especially during the summer
months. Otherwise use an all-round fly. Try weighted Pheasants
Tail or Hare
and Copper or Green
Caddis larvae when fishing along the weed beds.
During the summer, especially in the section below the Waipapa
dam, there can be a very good caddis
fly hatch. Using caddis
patterns particularly in green patterns during the evenings
can be very effective at this time. Also use cicada
patterns when these large insects can be heard chirruping
away in the trees.
Wet flies / Streamers:
Any fly that imitates a small bully or fish such as
Simpson or rabbit
(particularly yellow or green) patterns, is effective during
the day. During the evenings use darker patterns and when
fishing at night try Fuzzy
Marabou patterns and flies such as the Scotch
Poacher or Craig's
Chickens work well throughout the year; otherwise try Black
and Gold Toby's
or dark coloured Cobras
or Tasmanian Devils.
||There are no major tributaries
on Lake Arapuni but there is good fishing, especially in the
warmer months, around any of the small stream mouths where they
enter the lake.
||Artificial fly, spinner, bait
|Size limit (cm)
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